Attitudes toward the elderly among students of health care related studies at the University of Salamanca, Spain.

  • Bernardini Zambrini D
  • Moraru M
  • Hanna M
 et al. 
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INTRODUCTION: This study uses a cross-sectional approach in terms of evaluating attitudes toward the elderly among health sciences students. The aim of this study was to measure attitudes among final year pregraduate students of seven health care careers.

METHOD: A cross-sectional study was conducted with final year students of medicine (M), occupational therapy (OT), physiotherapy (P), nursing (N), psychology (Ps), social work (Sw), and dentistry (D). The data was collected using the validated Spanish version of the questionnaire that uses the Aged Semantic Differential (ASD), a scale developed by Rosencrantz and colleagues. Additional information about sociodemographic characteristics of students was collected.

RESULTS: A total of 472 valid questionnaires were collected; 54% of the students showed positive attitudes toward the elderly. Female students had more positive attitudes than male ones. The Ps and P students showed a high interest in choosing geriatrics as their speciality (36%), while only 16% of the medical students considered it among their career options.

DISCUSSION: Pregraduate health care students' attitudes tend to be less positive concerning older people's capacity for self-determination. Therefore, it would be advisable to enhance continuous interaction among healthy aged people and students of the named specialities during their specific training. The fact that the N students had less positive attitudes toward the elderly, while they were also more likely to take action, and the fact that the Ps and Sw students had more positive attitudes might suggest a need to enhance and combine the approach to the care of the older people in nursing with the psychological and life course approaches.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Geriatrics
  • Geriatrics: education
  • Humans
  • Intergenerational Relations
  • Male
  • Spain
  • Students, Health Occupations
  • Students, Health Occupations: psychology

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  • Diego A Bernardini Zambrini

  • Manuela Moraru

  • Minna Hanna

  • Alex Kalache

  • Juan F Macias Nuñez

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